Summary: 1st in a 3 part series that gives us significant answers to life through intimate encounters with Jesus.
WHY DO I SUFFER?
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES:
The 5th grade Bible School class was reading about the tremendous crowds that followed Jesus during his earthly ministry. “Why do you think so many people wanted to be around Jesus?” the teacher asked. One boys hand shot up- “Because Jesus had money?” “No,” the teacher replied, “in fact Jesus was quite poor.” A girl then asked, “Was it because He was handsome?” “Well,” said the teacher, “Although we don’t know exactly what He looked like, the Bible tells us He was not extraordinarily handsome.” Finally, after some silence a boy raised his hand and said, “I think I know.. They wanted to be around Him because when they had questions, He always had the right answers.” Certainly one of the main reasons people were & still are attracted to Jesus Christ is because He has the right answers to life’s questions.
You know we all search for what is really important in life and we need someone with the right answers. “Why do I suffer? What happens after I die? Is there really a God out there who cares for me, who is willing to forgive me? Is this “Jesus-thing” real or is it a myth?” “Is there any real purpose to life? Those are significant questions and it’s important that we don’t look in the wrong places for our answers. Today, I want to begin a brief series by looking at three people who had significant questions or situations that Jesus answered or remedied. These people realized that the solution to their significant needs were answered in a person, the person of Jesus Christ. So, over the next several weeks we’ll look at how Jesus responds to our wonderment about death, how He answers our doubts and today how He deals with our desperation, especially with our sufferings. My prayer is that by looking at these situations that you will come to realize that He is the answer not only to these questions but to all that you would ever ask or need. Prayer
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERMON:
Suffering is hard, even for a man who knows the Bible and God.. Like C.S. Lewis who lost his wife, Joy, to cancer. VIDEO CLIP - “Shadowlands” 3:11 Life can be an awful mess can’t it? But are we like “rats in God’s laboratory” like C.S. Lewis says out of his grief? Why do we suffer? I believe no matter where you are in your spiritual journey; whether you are just seeking answers for the first time or whether you have been a Christian for a long time, or somewhere in between, we all need the answer to this question, or at least a plausible explanation. So, let’s begin our series by looking at a woman who suffered for over a decade and reached out to Jesus for the answer.
I. THE PERSISTENCE OF THE WOMAN:
First, let’s see the persistence of this woman. In vss:40-42 we see Jesus on his way to help a man by the name of Jarius. This man’s daughter was dying and he had asked Jesus to come help. While they were on their way a woman intervened. Vs:43 tells us that this woman had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. Most authorities believe that the "bleeding" spoken about here was a gynecological problem of continual hemorrhaging. Now, 12 years is a long time to be sick. That length of time would not only take it’s toll physically but in Jesus’ day it erected social barriers as well. According to the O.T. Law, because of her continual bleeding she’d was ceremonially unclean. That meant if she was married she was compelled to leave her husband and family. She could not go up to the Temple, or to church to worship. If she touched any object or any person, that object and that person had to be cleaned. So, this woman was totally ostracized because of her sickness. How low her spirit must have been. How hopeless her life must have seemed for 12 years.
Added to the social stigma was the financial burden she bore. This woman had been very persistent in trying to find a cure. She had apparently paid and consulted numerous doctors who were unable to help her. Mark says about this woman in Mk. 5:26 "Although she had been under the care of many doctors and had spent all her money, she had not been helped at all. Actually, she had become worse." (GW) Mark’s take on this is not only did the medical profession fail her, they took all her money to boot. It’s interesting that Luke, who wrote the passage we have printed, doesn’t say anything about that and that’s understandable because you know what Luke did for a living? He was a Doctor. Luke simply says, "..but no one could heal her." I don’t think Luke is “covering” for his fellow physicians, he probably just knew they had tried but could not find a cure. Nevertheless, she had spent all her resources. She is bankrupt in spirit, destitute in possessions and flat out desperate! That’s why she risks going into the crowd. If someone knows her or her condition she’d be forcibly expelled. But she’s willing to risk it & is able to go unnoticed because of the huge number of people. In vs:42 Luke says “the crowds almost crushed him.” The word used there can mean “suffocating.”So this woman can hide among the crowd, concealing the secret of her utmost need for healing.